Here’s your opportunity to shop for truly unique gifts for the special people in your life!  You can be sure that they won’t get 3 alike when you give an art gift. Have a glass of wine and refreshments as you peruse for that distinctive present.  Enter the drawing for artistic door prizes!

Looking forward to seeing you thenholiday-sale-2016-small

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This past week, after the election, it’s been a very difficult time for many of us. For me, it left me with feelings way beyond disappointment. It was despair and indeed the fear and terror for myself and the effect on the future of our country and, in fact, the world.

Knowing I was teaching the day after the election, I knew I had to find some way of coping for myself and the 17 hang-dog faces that would be meeting me that night at the Open Center.

I started working and came up with this project. I took out two pieces of watercolor paper. On one, I wrote all about what I was feeling-all the anger and angst I could get onto the written page. I then took paint and covered the whole sheet, obliterating as best I could the horrible, upset sentiments with color to blot them out. Taking the sheet of paper in both hands I tore it ferociously, imparting as much of the fierce energy into that action. I continued to rip and tear, expanding my feelings and, at the same time, creating shapes I could use.

Taking the second sheet of watercolor paper, I painted a simple background. Using about seven of the pieces, I composed a collage, glued it down and put finishing touches with paint and oil pastel


“After The Election” watercolor on paper 12×16

So it was that I converted some of my incomprehensible feelings into “After The Election” a work of beauty.
That evening, I did this project with my students. They created lovely works of art. But, for me, they works were even more beautiful because, to a person, as they were leaving, they said, ” I feel better now.” and “doing this has made me feel lighter.” It was the process that mattered. Not the product. Proof that art heals.

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Creative Spirit Workshop.jpg

Are you having a hard time after the election? I am too. But making art has helped. I’ve created a new way to reframe our feelings. My students who experienced it said:

“Thank you, that really helped.”   ∼Elvira C.

“I feel so much lighter now.”   ~Daniela D.

The creative process is a powerful way to express your inner feelings that may be too difficult to put into words. It takes us from the analytical to the timelessness of creativity! So join me on Tuesday & Thursday evening, November 15 & 17, 6-9:30PM. Register at .


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Flatbush Artists Open Studios is this weekend and you’re invited! I will be opening my home to share my work, along with 25 other artists at 14 locations in my historic Victorian neighborhood.

Come here first, a great start for the tour, on Saturday and Sunday, 11AM-5PM. I’ll have refreshments, lots of new art, cool gifts and you’ll be able to see the fun
ART SPARKS Creative Project Card Deck in action!

I am located at 190 Marlborough Road, Beverly Rd. station on the Q train (I’m only 7 houses from the station.) There’s also plenty of street parking. (#2 on the map).

Being creative has really helpful for me after Tuesday’s election. To help myself and my students, I created a project that works to reframe our perspective. Student responses went:

   “I’m so grateful for this art project. It really helped.”
                                      ~Elvira C.
                             “Making this [art] made me feel so much better. I needed it.”
                                      ~Daniela D.

Art is great for expressing feelings deep inside. By making art, you can go from worry and analysis to timelessness, intuition and inventiveness. Get in touch with your Creative Spirit at my Creative Spirit Workshop next Tuesday and Thursday evenings, November 15 & 17, 6-9:30PM. Held in the Downstairs Studio in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn, we’ll have a great time freeing your imagination, reframing your challenges and expressing your inner creativity!

Sign up for the Creative Spirit Workshop now! I provide all the supplies; you provide your beautiful spirit! We’re going to have a ball! CLICK HERE.

Lots of ways to be in touch with your creative spirit!

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Art Sparks Creative Project Card Deck affords lots of ways to charge up your creativity. So I asked some artists to give them a try and see what they think. So 10 artists will pick a card and project and make a post or video about it, 2 artists each day for the next 5 days. Each day, they will be giving away Art Sparks Card Decks and other goodies.

I used card #8. It looked like this:screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-15-34-pm

I diluted the black paint so it would go on easily, although it didn’t completely stick to the slick foil. I carefully turned it over on my board and used the back of my paintbrush to write on the foil and transfer the paint.

I looked at the black lines and marks from every direction to see if I saw the beginnings of images in the lines. I saw a sleeping face and the start of an elephant. I added transparent colors in a first layer, allowing me to see the black through the color.

I kept turning the piece to see what images came forward for me. My pinky paint seemed to find its way from an elephant’s head, down the trunk.  screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-45-24-pmI refined the forms with more layers of paint.


At one point I added white to push back some of the shapes that were not what I wanted. The central focus was a tree, whose branches lead your eye up to the swirling lines, like leaves blowing.




Here is the final painting!





To see my whole process in video (really sped up), click below.

Get your own ART SPARKS Card Deck at

You can see and share gets made with the Art Sparks Card Deck by joining our Facebook group – ART SPARKS CREATIVITY. See you there!


You enter by leaving a comment below telling me what you think about my or other’s creative process.  

Other stuff to do to get more entries? Each action will give you another entry into the drawing.

Visit the site of my partner artist today, Sadelle Wiltshire at Tangle Vermont, by clicking here. Then each day visit these other artists’ blogs to learn about their process and win other giveaways!


Monday, October 31, 2016 Karen Friedland

Sadelle Wiltshire

Tuesday, November 1 Jeri Bellini

Yva Lovee Barbour

Wednesday, November 2 Barb Owen

Tiare Smith

Thursday, November 3 Gina Ahrens

Melissa Partridge

Friday, November 4 Kiala Givehand

Tori Weyers

Giveaway rules: Giveaway is open to US residents only. Entrants must be 18 years of age and up. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Comment entries close 11:59pm, on November 6, 2016. Winner will be chosen by random drawing on November 7, and will be officially notified via email and must acknowledge the notification email by November 12 or the prize is forfeit and will be given to the runner up. Prizes will be shipped within a month of getting the winner’s selection shipping address.


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I’m so excited-the ART SPARKS Creative Project decks have arrived! They are a unique collection of inspiring art projects. So if you are a beginner, aching to get creative or feeling stuck and overwhelmed, the projects give you the perfect nudge to get creating.


And if you’re a seasoned pro, the projects provide a jumping off point. Everyone will be inspired by the cards’ flipside, filled with my colorful art. A great gift for creative folks in your life-including YOU! To learn more and to buy them – CLICK HERE.

In order to launch ART SPARKS , I’ve enlisted the help of eight other artists to create a blog hop with me, starting Monday, October 31. In case you’re not familiar with blog hops, it’s when a group of people get together and post on the same topic.


ART SPARKS cards have projects on one side and my art on the flip side.  In the ART SPARKS Blog Hop, each artist will pick a project card and make their own personal creation based on their card. One of the great things about ART SPARKS is that each project provides inspiration and a framework, giving you room to express yourself. Each blogger will post a video or step-by-step photos as they make their project. I can’t wait to see all they come up with! Each blogger has a specific day, starting October 31. In the meantime, I will post the schedule with their website. When their day comes up, I will put in the link to the exact post. So you can check back here anytime to see the active links.


Monday, October 31, 2016 Karen Friedland

Sadelle Wiltshire

Tuesday, November 1 Jeri Bellini

Yva Lovee Barbour

Wednesday, November 2 Barb Owen

Tiare Smith

Thursday, November 3 Gina Ahrens

Melissa Partridge

Friday, November 4 Kiala Givehand

Tori Weyers

As an extra incentive to join us on this blog hop journey, there will be lots of giveaways-Arts Sparks card decks, art and classes. So don’t miss any of the posts and you won’t miss out on the goodies!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Posted in blog hop, Inspiration | 4 Comments

Au Revoir French Friends

This week I said farewell to some friends. They weren’t people exactly but rather a pair of paintings.  These women were in a cafe in Paris decades ago, immortalized in a photograph, yet I was able to portray them in paint on paper.

I love Paris and I have been there a number of times but I haven’t painted it before because I was afraid whatever I might do could end up trite. But when I found a postcard in a stall along the Seine, I found what I seemed like the quintessential Paris image: two women sipping coffee in a cafe, dressed to the nines, in the 1940’s. So I painted them. First one in watercolor

"Cafe 1" watercolor 11"x14"by Karen E. Friedland

“Cafe 1″ watercolor 11″x14”

the second in acrylic

"Cafe 2" acrylic on paper 11" x 14" by Karen E. Friedland

“Cafe 2″ acrylic on paper 11″ x 14”

They hung facing one another, sipping and chatting. But they have taken leave of me, gone to carry on the conversation in a sleek, modern apartment, high above the street noise in Singapore. I’ll miss them but I know they will make new friends on the other side of the world.

img_6587I have lots of new developments that have been keeping me busy and I want to share them with you. Almost ready my ART SPARKS Creative Project Card Deck! A super gift for the holidays! Great for anybody looking for creative inspiration, great for beginners as well as advanced artists. Just click HERE and I’ll let you know when they are ready.


For those of you in New York, I’ll be teaching “Painting With Watercolor To Free Your Imagination” at the Open Center on 5 Wednesday evenings, starting October. 26. You can learn all about it and sign up by clicking HERE.  From the Downstairs Studio in Brooklyn, I will be teaching the Creative Spirit workshop, Tuesday and Thursday evening, November 15  & 17. What a great way to get in touch with your creative self! CLICK HERE for information and to register. Plus Early Bird savings if you register by November 1.

Get all the updates! Sign up for the mailing list and get a free downloadable print! CLICK HERE

Mark your calendar!

October 31                     Blog Hop to launch ART SPARKS Creative Project Deck

November 12 & 13       Flatbush Artists Studio Tour

December 10 & 11         Open Studio

more info to follow




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I went to bed late last night, already very tired, and expected to go right to sleep. But instead, I lay awake until the wee hours of the morning contemplating what I was going to do next in my studio.

When I thought about it this morning, I realized thatein-profil-des-menschlichen-kopfes-formte-birne-mit-inneren-eisengngen-png-verfgbar-51525304 this was by no means the first time this is happened and unlikely to be the last. I realized that my brain was working engaged in figuring out how I was going to proceed in the shooting of my new video e-course. I’ve been a teacher of art and creativity for a long time, so this was not the first time I was teaching. But it was the first time I was creating a course that would be put online, disseminated through the World Wide Web and potentially, reach thousands of people. I realized my brain just loves the opportunity to sell the new creative problem, to figure out something completely new, to take the risk of working in a whole new medium and to see how to solve that challenge.



A student painting her creative spirit.

Now don’t get me wrong-I love teaching art and creativity. I love helping people open the doors to the expressiveness that’s been hidden away in them for too long. I love helping people children and adults alike learn how to use a new medium, a new way of expressing themselves, a new way of creating and making art. This is all very satisfying to me.

But when I myself ever introduced to a new medium, when I try a way of creating that I’ve never done before, it’s thrilling! I love figuring out how to make it happen and. I leave the judgments behind and I just forge on. It makes no sense to judge yourself on how well you’re doing when you’re just learning something new anyhow. You see, I’m really a thrillseeker that’s what drives me forward, the thrill of creating something different than I ever have before. The thrill of learning to do something completely new and use it to bring forth a work of art or any creation.


The thrill of creating something new. “Bondage” acrylic and mixed media on canvas 12″ x 12″

It does take away from my painting time and I always feel a bit guilty about that. But learning something new, making something new is where the rush is.

This summer I created a card deck filled with inspiration and ways to help  you bring creativity and expression into your life.

With images on one side of the card and fun, simple projects on the other side,                Art Sparks will get you past all the reasons not to be creative and take you to an ease-filled, expressive journey. Coming to you in October.

The video e-course will also be coming sometime in October. It will be free and take you through a fun, expressive drawing and painting project.


Opening frame of e-course video

What kind of problem-solving is your brain working on when you wish you were sleeping?

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I have always been compelled by the urge to be creative. It is a natural drive for all humans. This is a good thing because this drive is what keeps us inventing new things, solving challenging problems and making beauty in the world.

People are creative from their souls, it is not necessarily based on talent. In fact, I believe that creative drive and learning skills are what truly equals talent. Plus one needs the perseverance to put effort and time into their pursuit.

But their are times that our creativity feels dry. Have you ever wanted to be creative but the well was empty and you just don’t know how to get back to it? I’ve had that experience and it is totally frustrating. I’ve learned a number of tricks to get me out of that space and get back to creating. Here are 3 of my favorites:

  1. PLAY WITH COLOR. Look at a magazine or other book with photos or paintings. Find an image that speaks to you and pick out the 3 most prominent colors. Then identify 2 (or 4) more colors that are accents. Using markers or crayons. start making lines and shapes in the principal colors. Use your accent colors to connect them. See where it takes you.
  2. TAKE A LINE FOR A WALK. Choose a pen that makes a strong line (like a Sharpie). Use it to make a continuous line, varying the shapes of the line as you go. Make the line touch the sides of the paper and come back, crossing the lines you’ve drawn. You can make diagonals, curved, wavy, zig zag, spirals, any shape you like. Now take color and fill the shapes you have made.
  3. INVENT A STORY. Using a novel or newspaper, go through the page and circle interesting words, 7 is a good number, not more than 9.  Use the words to make a sentence-I know it may be kind of crazy. Make that sentence the start of a 3 sentence story. You will be surprised with the story make. Try it with a friend and see what crazy, cool stories you come up with!

Want to get really creative? Want to shut down self doubt? Join me in the Downstairs Studio in Brooklyn on August 3rd and 4th, 6-9:30 PM for the Creative Spirit Workshop. It’s about the joy of creating, being in touch with your creative soul and tamping down the inner critic we all have. The point is to enjoy the process. Read about it and register here.

Do you have any great ways that you use to get back to your creativity?



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I was just reading another artist’s blog where she referred to a post about what inspires her. So she inspired me to reflect on that same question and share it with you.

As I think about it, I realize that anything and everything can be a source of inspiration for me. This has increased as I am further immersed in my life as an artist.

I am inspired by nature- the colors of flowers, leaves and grasses, the variation of colors in a Stoney rock face, the greys and lavenders and flaming orange of a sunset. IMG_3566




But likewise, the city fires me up. The shapes and geometry of the buildings & streets, the color of the light and reflection.

The people themselves inspire me with their varied attires’ colors, the fashion styling, as well as the shapes in their faces and bodies.

Plus, since I love painting animals, my travel abroad has given me much inspiration.

I guess what I mean is that after all these years of being an artist, I see with artists’ eyes. My perception turns all elements of the world to colors, forms and contrasts. I see things as a kind of tableaux, all parts fitting together in a grand puzzle. Each piece is perfectly fitted to the next, diagramed precisely to contrast or complement each adjacent unit. By perceiving the world in this way, all things become inspiration. How one color sits next to another, the way a shape stands out in uniqueness or repetition, these are things that motivate me. When something surprises or blends, calms or excites, evokes a feeling from me, that is something that I will seek to emulate in my art.

So you see, it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is that inspires me, because it is everything in the internal and external world. But it really is not a difficult thing to do. It is all just a matter of paying attention…and taking a lot of photos. ;0)

What is it that inspires you?

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